Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, July 8 2013 at 3:34 PM, Updated: Mon, July 8 2013 at 6:33 PM
As a child, 20-year-old Lindsey Verret says a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, was a lifesaver...as her family struggled with drug abuse.
"I feel so blessed that CASA intervened in my life and my family with my siblings and we were given a voice that I felt I otherwise would not have had," said Verret in a prior interview in June of this year.
She was part of the CASA program in Jackson County which is experiencing big cutbacks. For CASA down in Siskiyou county...
"It's been tough making ends meet," said Cliff Lantz, Executive Director of the CASA of Siskiyou County.
Like the program in Jackson County, Lantz said the Siskiyou County CASA is also facing financial trouble.
"We're operating at $50,000," he said.
That's down about half from a few years back. Lantz said they serve 44% of the kids in Siskiyou County.
"There are eight counties in California that are higher than we are in terms of the numbers of kids they serve."
That's out of 58 counties in California. However, because Siskiyou County is so small.
"We're no longer eligible for grants through the National CASA Program," said Lantz.
He said the program relies heavily on individual donations, but those donations are dwindling.
"The problem is the number of kids on our waiting list is going up [...] We're really maxed out in terms of our staff."
He said they've cut as much as they can and worst case scenario without stable funding, doors could close.
"The CASA Program really does help the kids."
Without money, kids who need help the most may not get it.
CASA of Siskiyou County has sent out about 500 letters so far, asking for donations.
They've only received eight responses.
If you would like to donate, you can visit CASA of Siskiyou County's website: www.siskiyoucasa.org.
Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.
Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.